The family of an HIV-infected woman was fined Rs.30,000 at ‘Katta Panchayat’ in Krishnagiri district after incidents over her harassment

An HIV-infected woman was harassed and her mother assaulted at Sesurajapuram village near Anchetty in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu.

The woman, whose husband died after contracting AIDS, has been living with her aged parents in the village with two girl children.

A milk vendor, she was harassed by a group of youth on August 21 last. Her mother was beaten up allegedly by one David and his father Arokyam.

The woman’s brothers living in Erode came by car to the village the same day night. They went to David’s house and had a wordy quarrel with his family. The woman and her mother pacified them to return home.

The next day, villagers thronged her house and took her brothers, parents and a neighbour to the Anchetty Police Station, accusing them that they had damaged David’s house.

Village elders, reportedly led by Marya Prakasam, Postman, conducted a “katta panchayat’’ outside the police station and fined the woman’s family Rs.30,000 for allegedly attacking and damaging David’s house. Her brothers pleaded that they could pay only Rs.15,000 and that too in two weeks, and went back to Erode. They returned on September 12 with cash of Rs.15,000. A motorcycle in their possession was forcibly taken by some villagers. The next day, the village elders accepted the fine of Rs.15,000 but refused to return the bike.

Plea to Collector

This prompted the woman and her brothers to petition the Collector at the weekly grievances day meet in Krishnagiri last Monday. The Collector directed Superintendent of Police A.G. Babu to take appropriate action on the petition.

After accepting the plea of Kumar, president, welfare society of People Living with HIV AIDS, Krishnagiri district, the police released the family members of the woman, asking them to report to the station on Wednesday.

Sub-Inspector R. Manickam said he had registered first information reports against both the parties under Sections 147, 148, 323, 427, 506 (1) of the Indian Penal Code. Eight persons were arrested and produced before the court in Denkanikottai.

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